The UAE National Day holidays are almost here and with both public and private sectors set to enjoy five days off, lots of people are thinking of taking a staycation.
For some people, this might be the first staycation they've enjoyed this year and domestic hotel stays are most certainly replacing what would normally be a holiday period for many citizens and residents who are opting not to travel overseas due owing to the ongoing global pandemic.
If you want to make sure your National Day holiday offers something special, and are not restrained by budget, these seven staycations offer a little slice of luxury over the upcoming holidays and are all still available to book last-minute.
Mysk Kingfisher Resort, Sharjah: Tented escapes from Dh4,500
Escape the city and indulge in nature this public holiday with a reservation at Mysk Kingfisher Retreat. Located on the east coast of Sharjah, the resort is typically reached by private boat – but ongoing works in Kalba have temporarily halted this. Not to worry, guests can take Rugaylat road instead, where the journey to the resort is well signposted to ensure everyone arrives effortlessly at this little haven of coastal luxury.
Bed down in a one-bedroom luxury tent where you'll have 139 square metres of space, including an outdoor deck – the perfect place to watch the sunset. Each tent sleeps two adults and one child and comes with a king-size bed, private pool and outdoor shower cabin, not to mention amazing views over the Gulf of Oman. Days can be spent kayaking through the mangroves, diving with sea turtles, stand-up paddleboarding or tackling the nearby Watchtowers Trek.
National Day holiday rates start from Dh4,500 per night, excluding taxes. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mysk Kingfisher Resort, Corniche Road, Sharjah; myskhotels.com
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara: Family villas from Dh10,000
If it's a desert escape you seek, Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara is one of the best. Getting to this Arabian fortress is an adventure in itself. It's reached via a private road that drifts over uninterrupted orange dunes and through a fortress-like entrance, all before you even arrive at the hotel. Nestled deep in the Rub Al Khali desert, the resort is a favourite with visiting celebrities, most recently hosting the cast of Dune.
Expect breathtaking landscapes: every room, suite and villa comes with sunset views. The hotel offers desert activities including a sunrise camel trek, sandboarding and a meet the Salukis and falcon session. Wind down at the newly renovated swimming pool, zoned to ensure families, couples and groups all get the type of pool day they desire.
While the deluxe garden rooms on the ground floor of the hotel are the best value for money, if you're looking for something truly special, book one of the Anantara Family Pool Villas. Each offers Arabic decor and access to a large garden area complete with a swimming pool, sundeck, al fresco dining area and an outdoor shower. You'll also be allocated a private butler who will be on hand to take care of your every need.
Rates over the National Day holidays start from Dh2,022 including breakfast and taxes in a deluxe garden room. The two-bedroom Anantara Family Pool Villas start from Dh10,050; Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, Al Mirayr, Abu Dhabi; anantara.com
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach: A private staycation from Dh8,751
The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach has a brand-new residence that is now open to guests seeking an extra exclusive stay. The Al Shamal Ocean View Villa is a private residence spread across 193 square metres, offering a truly private hideaway for two people. With a sundeck overlooking the ocean and a private swimming pool, the villa also has access to a private garden complete with a personal cabana. Special activities have been curated for guests staying at Al Shamal Ocean View Villa, including a breakfast picnic overlooking the ocean or a barbecue on the beach catered by the hotel’s culinary team.
This National Day, guest can take advantage of the opening offer, which includes in-villa breakfast, a choice of a 60-minute massage for two and daily sunset drinks. Guests also have full access to facilities across The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, including destination dining, and ocean-inspired spa treatments.
Rates from Dh8,751.44 including taxes; The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, Ras Al Khaimah; ritzcarlton.com
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach: Sea view stays from Dh6,011
As part of one of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach promises a staycation filled with indulgence. Guests can enjoy three swimming pools and a 270-metre private beach, coupled with beautifully manicured gardens and excellent dining experiences such as Sea Fu and Suq, or the nearby Coya, Nusr-Et Steakhouse or Scalini.
The hotel's deluxe city rooms offer the best value for money, but it's worth pointing out that they’re located on the lower floors of the hotel and overlook the city rather than the shoreline. If you want a sea view – even a partial one – book the Deluxe Partial Sea-View rooms. Also located on the lower floors, these spacious rooms span 70 square metres and boast vistas over the resort gardens and the Arabian Gulf. There’s a large garden balcony to make the most of the views which comes with a daybed – perfect for an afternoon nap.
Deluxe City Room rates over National Day start from Dh5,091.50, partial sea view rooms cost from Dh6,011, both including breakfast and taxes. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Street, Dubai; fourseasons.com
Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi: An island escape from Dh6,300
It might only be a 15-minute boat ride from Abu Dhabi's mainland, but the Zaya Nurai Island resort guarantees the feeling that you've escaped the city for more tropical climes. This boutique private island paradise offers an all-villa resort designed to reflect the surrounding natural environment.
Each comes with its own 25-metre private pool and sundeck, access to a private beach and a chic loft-style living room. The resort also offers two sparkling infinity pools, which guests can access via complimentary buggy rides. Shoreside, you can expect chic bamboo umbrellas and Balinese-inspired sea swings, coupled with truly unspoilt views of the Arabian Gulf.
Room only rates over the National Day holidays start from Dh6,300 per night for two people, excluding taxes. Zaya Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi; zayanuraiisland.com
Armani Hotel Dubai: Complimentary concerts from Dh2,250
Why not spend National Day at the world's tallest building, The Burj Khalifa? Armani Hotel Dubai is running a special offer to celebrate the UAE turning 49 and it's jam-packed with things to see and do. As well as complimentary access to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and the VR Park at The Dubai Mall, guests will also get daily breakfast at the Armani/Mediterraneo restaurant and Dh200 credit to spend across the hotel.
Stay in an Armani Premiere Suite, each of which was personally designed by Giorgio Armani, and has large walk-in closets, a living room area, bedroom and spa bathroom. The staycation offer also comes with free tickets to the Burj Park Concerts set to feature Balqees and Mohamed Al Shehhi on Wednesday, December 2, and Eida Al Menhali and Shamma Hamdan on Thursday, December 3. Complimentary activities and the status of bedding down in the Burj Khalifa considered, this one is decent value for money.
Rates start from Dh2,250, plus taxes and including breakfast; Armani Hotel Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Dubai; armanihoteldubai.com
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai: Serenity from Dh7,064
Despite fierce competition, Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai is perhaps one of the emirate's best retreats. Part of the protected Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, this place guarantees privacy, luxury and the chance to reconnect with nature. As well as endless desert dunes, the reserve has beautiful oases filled with lush palm trees where gazelle, sand cats and Arabian red foxes can be spotted.
There are plenty of desert activities on offer, including falconry displays and night wildlife drives. All villas come with their own private pool and terrace areas, and the options for in-suite dining are as varied as the hotel's restaurants. Over National Day, you can book a stay that comes inclusive of two desert activities, daily lunch, breakfast and dinner as well as Dh200 hotel credit per night.
Rates in a one-bedroom Bedouin Suite start from Dh7,064 including breakfast and taxes; Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, al-maha.com